BMW Is Developing New Batteries, the i3 Will Have Longer Range Starting with 2016

BMW i3 battery 1 photo
Photo: BMW
The BMW i3 is the cheapest i car you can get right now. Considering that the only alternative is the i8 that starts at well over $100,000, it’s not all that surprising. An intermediary step will be the i5 in the future, as we’ve learned today, but even so, the i3 will remain the cheapest choice.
Therefore, a lot of attention from the market and consumers will still head its way and that’s bad news for BMW. It’s not that the i3 is a bad car, far from it, but it doesn’t offer enough range by most people’s standards. Get the range extender feature and the car is not as lively anymore. Any way you go, you can’t get it right. That won’t be the case for long, if we’re to believe Mr. Krueger, the CEO of BMW.

In a recent interview with German magazine Die Zeit, the chairman said that the i3 would receive a well-deserved upgrade next year, one that should increase its range without affecting performance or weight.

“An increase in range for the i3 will come in 2016. Another technology leap is probably going to come in three or four years, you get to charge twice as much without the.. weight of the battery being increased further,” he said.

Therefore, along with the rise in range for the i3, new batteries are to come out somewhere in 2018 or 2019 at the latest. This is terrific news, but one thing current owners are fretting about is whether this solution will be compatible with their cars. This increase in range could come due to a battery change or due to other upgrades that may not be as tricky to apply to current cars, such as new software that uses the current hardware better.

However, in 2018, the introduction of new batteries would see all the customers left out unless they can retrofit their vehicles with the new technology. Even though Mr. Krueger avoided to answer directly, our insiders tell us that it will be possible to replace the energy pack.

The car was built from the get-go with this scenario in mind. It feels like the entire battery pack under the floor can be replaced without too much hassle in case you need to. Initially, it was believed that this solution was implemented so that you can replace defective parts, but it turns out a bigger plan was actually put in motion.

As for the innovative batteries that will come three or four years from now, we can only imagine that they will allow the cars to be charged faster and last longer even doubling the range the i3 has today. Those will be used on all cars, though, including plug-in hybrids.
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